The strange case of Florian Thauvin looks to be crawling to some kind of conclusion.
Late last week there was widespread coverage on both sides of the Channel, claiming that a deal was imminent to take the winger back to Marseille on loan for the rest of the season.
At his pre-West Ham press conference on Friday afternoon, Steve McClaren seemed to go out of his way (over the top?) to rubbish these media claims.
The Newcastle Head Coach having the following question and answer session on the topic:
‘Would you allow Florian Thauvin to go out on loan?’
“He is a Newcastle player, he is fit, he trained this morning, he is in the squad for tomorrow (West Ham) and there’s a lot of noise from outside, but this week and all weeks and in the future, he is a Newcastle player.”
‘The club spent a lot of money, is it frustrating he hasn’t worked out straight away?’
“We were talking earlier about the impact he made at the Northampton game, a player with quality and ability.
“Some players are like that when they come to the Premier League, some settle and some take a while, take their time and need to adapt. Unfortunately Florian is one of those players.
“He works hard, we like him, he is a good player and that is why we bought him in he summer and still believe in his potential. Sometimes wingers take longer to settle, Remy Cabella was the same.”
Then rather bizarrely, there was no sign of Florian Thauvin at all on Saturday against West Ham, not even on the bench.
Now when asked about why the player was nowhere to be seen, Steve McClaren was telling a different story to what he’d said on Friday:
“He had a little ankle injury – he trained a bit (Friday) but felt it.
“There was no point risking him and it was good to get Rolando and Manu (Riviere) back involved.”
I’ll leave it to you to decide just what to believe but…
With both BBC Sport and Newcastle’s media partner Sky Sports confirming over the weekend that talks are ongoing to bring Andros Townsend to St James Park, I know where I would put my money as to where Florian Thauvin will be playing his football over the next few months.
If Townsend does arrive, whether on an initial loan or permanent deal, you have to assume he would then simply push Florian Thauvin further away from any game time for Newcastle. A situation that would do neither club nor player any good for the rest of this season.